PhD Qualifying Exam

What Is the Qualifying Examination?

All Ph.D. students must take and pass a written qualifying examination in order to advance to doctoral candidacy. The qualifying exam is at the level of advanced undergraduate courses and many resources are available to students to aid in preparing for the exams, including previous years’ exams.

Please note all students, regardless of their academic standing, are eligible to take the qualifying exam.


Examination schedule

Day Time Topic
Monday,1/7/2019 9 am - noon Quantum Mechanics
Tuesday,1/8/2019 9 am - noon Electromagnetism
Thursday,1/10/2019 9 am - noon Thermal and Statistical Mechanics
Friday, 1/12/2019 9 am - noon Classical Mechanics

Additional Background and Preparation Materials

The following list of textbooks should give you an indication of the minimum level at which you should prepare yourself for the qualifying exam. Remember that qualifying problems are typically at the level of the more difficult homework problems of our 400-level courses offered at UIC. To be successful at the qualifying exam both a solid understanding of the material and analytical skills are necessary. The latter requires basic mathematics and practicing problem solving.